June 28, 2009 in City

Meal demand grows

Economy cited for rise in turnout at area school districts’ programs
By The Spokesman-Review

Kimberly Edwards of the West Central Community Center organizes the unloading of lunches for children in the West Central neighborhood at A.M. Cannon Park on Friday.
(Full-size photo)

Summer meal sites

Spokane area

Airway Height Community Center, 13120 W. 13th Ave., Airway Heights, June 22-Aug. 14, 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., M-F
Bryant School, 910 N. Ash St., July 8-July 30, 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., W,Th
Chase Middle School, 4747 E. 37th Ave., July 7-July 30, 9 a.m., noon, M-Th
Cooper Elementary, 3200 N. Ferrel, June 22-Aug. 13, 11:15 a.m., M-Th
East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St., June 22-Aug. 14, 8:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., M-F
Finch Elementary, 3717 N. Milton St., June 22-Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-F
Ferris, 3020 E. 37th Ave., June 22-July 10, 12:30 p.m., M-F
Garry Middle School, 725 E. Joseph, June 22-July 10, 8:30 a.m., noon, M-F
Girl Scouts, 1404 N. Ash St., June 22-Aug. 14, 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., M-F
Glover Middle School, 2404 W. Longfellow Ave., July 7-July 30, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-Th
Grant Elementary, 1300 E. Ninth Ave., June 22-July 30, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-Th
Havermale High School, 1300 W. Knox, June 29-July 31, 8 a.m., noon, M-F
Hillyard Baptist Church, 2121 E. Wabash Ave., June 22-Aug. 18, 8:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., M-F
Holmes Elementary, 2600 W. Sharp Ave., June 23-Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m., noon, M-Th
Libby Center, 2900 E. First Ave., July 7-July 28, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M&T
Lidgerwood Elementary, 5510 N. Lidgerwood St., July 7-July 30, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-Th
Martin Luther King Center, 845 S. Sherman St., June 24-Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m., noon, M-F
Mission Park, Mission Avenue at Superior, June 22-Aug. 7, noon, M-F
North Central High School, 1600 N. Howard St., June 22-Aug. 17, 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-F
Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St., June 22-Aug. 18, 9 a.m., noon, M-F
Peaceful Valley Community Center, 214 N. Cedar St., June 22-Aug. 14, 8:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., M-F
Ridgeview Elementary, 5510 N. Maple St., June 22-Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-F
Riverwalk Apt., 4915 E. Upriver Drive, June 22-Aug. 14, 12:20 p.m., M-F
Rogers High School, 1622 E. Wellesley Ave., June 22-July 24, 7:15 a.m., noon, M-Th
Roosevelt Elementary, 333 W. 14th Ave., June 22-Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-F
Shaw Middle School, 4106 N. Cook St., June 22-July 31, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-F
Skill Center, 4141 N. Regal St., June 22-July 31, 7:15 a.m., 11 a.m., M-F
Spokane Youth for Christ, 1309 N. Ash St., July 13-Aug. 15, 11:30 a.m., T-F
Stevens Elementary, 1717 S. Sinto, June 22-Aug. 13, 12:30 p.m., M-Th
West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St., June 22-Aug. 18, 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., M-F
Westview Elementary, 6104 N. Monroe St., June 22-July 2, 8:30 a.m., noon, M-F
Whitman Elementary, 5400 N. Helena St., June 22-Aug. 13, 12:30 p.m., M-Th
YMCA-Riverfront Park meadow, June 22-Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., M-F
YWCA, 930 N. Monroe St., June 22-Aug. 13, 8:45 a.m., noon, M-Th

Spokane Valley area

The meals are open to all youths younger than 18 and no registration or proof of income is required. Children do not need to live within a school district to eat meals there. Meals must be eaten on site.

Broadway Elementary, 11016 E. Broadway Ave., through July 23, 7:15-8 a.m., noon to 12:45 p.m., M-Th
Trent Elementary, 3303 N. Pines Road, through Aug. 13, 8:15-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., M-Th
East Valley High School, 15711 E. Wellesley Ave., through Aug. 13, 7:45-8:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-noon, M-Th
Otis Orchards Elementary, 22000 E. Wellesley Ave., through Aug. 13, 11:30 a.m.-noon, M-Th
Valley YMCA, 2421 N. Discovery Place, through Aug. 13, 8:30-9 a.m., 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m., M-Th
Edgecliff Park, 800 S. Park Road, through Aug. 13, 9:30-10 a.m., 12:30-1 p.m., M-Th
Valley Mission Park, 11405 E. Mission Ave., through Aug. 13, 9-9:30 a.m., noon-12:30 p.m., M-Th
Sullivan Park, through Aug. 13, 9-9:30 a.m., M-Th
Terrace View Park, 13500 E. 24th Ave., through Aug. 13, 9-9:30 a.m., noon-12:30 p.m., M-Th
Centennial Middle School, 915 N. Ella Road, through Aug. 20, 7:30-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., M-Th
West Valley High School, 8301 E. Buckeye Ave., through Aug. 13, 7:30-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., M-Th

Coeur d’Alene area

The meals are free to all children ages 1-18. Parents may purchase breakfast for $1 and lunch for $2.

Borah Elementary School, 632 Borah Ave., through Aug. 14 (except for July 3), 8-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., M-F
Ramsey Elementary School, 1351 W. Kathleen Ave., through Aug. 14 (except for July 3), 8-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., M-F
Kindercenter, Hayden Avenue at Government Way, through Aug. 14 (except for July 3), 8-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., M-F

Aleanya McMahan brings her nieces, nephews and cousins to A.M. Cannon Park in the West Central neighborhood to eat free meals, offered five days a week by Spokane Public Schools each summer.

McMahan, 17, lives in the neighborhood and has been taking advantage of the program since she was 5 or 6, she said.

“We’re really grateful for the program,” said McMahan, who normally escorts about 10 children to the park each day.

Most school districts in Spokane County launched their free summer meal programs this week. Coeur d’Alene Schools started June 11.

Organizers say during the first days, which is typically a slower time, they’ve seen an increase in attendance by as much as 20 percent.

“I think that shows that there’s a real need,” said Doug Wordell, Spokane Public Schools’ nutrition services director.

The federally funded program supported by public schools is for children younger than 18. It’s open to any child, and there’s no application process.

In the Coeur d’Alene School District, the meals also are available to adults for a small fee – $1 for breakfast and $2 for lunch.

Most summer meal programs run through mid-August.

Organizers attribute increased attendance to the recession.

“There’s no surprise there,” said Rob McCann, Catholic Charities’ executive director. “It’s a real sign of the incredible economic challenges we are facing in the community.”

McCann has seen a similar increase through his social service agency. Catholic Charities has offered food, shelter and financial assistance for nearly 100 years.

“This is the worst economy we’ve seen since the Great Depression,” he said.

This is the 20th year Spokane Public Schools has offered free meals.

“From its inception, it was meant to serve needy areas,” Wordell said. And the program has grown from meals being served for four weeks at a few places “to basically providing meal programs at schools, community centers, and working with other nonprofit groups” for at least six weeks.

In Spokane, there are 42 free meal sites. Spokane Valley schools offer 13; three locations serve meals in the Coeur d’Alene School District.

During the first week in Spokane, more than 3,200 meals were served, 700 more than the same time last year, Wordell said. The district typically serves 140,000 meals each summer.

“Anything we can do helps the families provide other needs for their children,” Wordell said. “One mom told us that because she saved money on groceries, she’d be able to buy her children new sneakers.”

The Coeur d’Alene School District is feeding about 160 more children at breakfast and 600 more at lunch compared with last year, said Allison Modine, summer meals monitor.

“I think the increase has a lot to do with the economy, personally,” Modine said. “We have a lot of adults buying meals, anywhere from 20 to 30 adults at each site. They are primarily parents, but some adults just come in because that’s a good deal.”

The Catholic Charities director says it’s sort of frightening how many more people are in need now.

“We are seeing people who used to be donors coming to us for help,” McCann said.

Typically the social service agency serves about 70,000 meals per year at the House of Charity near downtown Spokane.

“We will serve way more than that this year,” McCann said.

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